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The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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Us 31, U.s. 26, United States 22, Washington 17, Afghanistan 15, Israel 13, Iraq 13, Ni Hao 12, North Carolina 10, Arizona 8, Maryland 7, Alaska 7, Pakistan 7, D.c. 6, Netanyahu 6, Clinton 5, Cnn 5, Obama 5, James Lee 5, America 5,
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  CNN    The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    September 1, 2010
    5:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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hostages. all the hostages are safe and are out of the building. at this point we are still -- it is still an operation, joint operation between police and fire rescue because there are other suspected devices in the building that have not been rendered safe and at this point we are -- the operation at this point is to make sure that those devices are rendered safe and removed. again, all the hostages were -- got out safely. i don't believe that there is any injuries but we will confirm that once we get a chance to talk at more length with the hostages. again, we also have to clear the rest of the building. where we could see the suspect, we know is clear, but there's further area in the -- on the first floor of the building that
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has not been checked yet so obviously this -- we still have more to do but at this point the suspect is in custody. i do not know his condition at this point. and the three hostages that we could see that were near the suspect are safe, have been safely removed. >> why did you shoot him? >> obviously there's going to be -- any time there is a use of deadly force by police officers it's a long investigation and that will go through the investigative process. >> was he threatening the hostages? >> based on the information that we had, we believed that it was -- that the hostages' lives were in danger. >> was he becoming more agitated? >> i don't know the order in
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which he went down and the explosive device went off. >> was he becoming more agitated? were you concerned about him? >> we had been talking to him for several hours and he had a wide range of emotions during our negotiations. >> what was his complaint direct aetd t directed at the discovery communications building? >> i don't have all that information. i know he had some history with the folks at discovery channel and i believe in fact that he was arrested here a couple years ago and so we -- there is some history between he and the discovery folks. >> is he still in one piece? >> i don't know. i don't have any information on the condition of the suspect. >> was he dead? >> i don't have any information on the condition of the suspect. >> when was your last communication with him?
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>> just a few minutes before it was over. [ question inaudible ] >> 4:48. >> thichief, what other devicese you referring to when you say there are others in the building? >> there are other devices we suspect may be explosive devices that we don't know why -- they're in backpacks and we don't know for certain who brought them in or what they are. we suspect he may have brought them in so we have to render them safe before the operation is over. >> you say he's in custody. that makes him sound as if he is alive. >> i don't know the suspect's condition. >> but you know he is in custody. >> we know he is in custody. >> was he alive when you took him out? >> i don't know the condition of the suspect. >> is he on the way to the hospital? do you know anything like that? >> i don't believe we removed him from the building. again, the building is not safe because of the devices that we have not rendered safe in that
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area. >> do you believe more than one person was involved? >> the investigative part of this is just beginning. there's a lot of information that we need to go through. and we'll have another briefing when we get more information. >> 6:00. all right. there you have the breaking news coming into the situation room even as we speak right now. it looks like this hostage crisis situation in silver spring, maryland has been resolved. we just heard from the montgomery county police chief that james lee has been shot. he does not know the condition but the suspect is in custody right now. we also have been told by the montgomery county police chief that the three hostages are safe. they are fine. they're going through the building right now, the discovery channel headquarters
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in silver spring, maryland right outside washington, d.c. to make sure that there is no explosives left in the backpacks or anything else that the suspect brought into that building. brianna keilar our correspondent is on the scene for us. brianna, a dramatic development. it looks at least right now we're keeping our fingers crossed, it looks like it's been resolved with the exception of making sure that none of those backpacks have any explosive devices or anything dangerous inside. >> yeah, it looks like it's been resolved at least insofar as we're talking about hostages at this point. we heard from the police chief they don't believe there are any injuries but there were three hostages and they are now out safe. what's a little confusing, wolf, is what the condition of the gunman is. because apparently as this press conference was wrapping up here, the chief had said that he was in custody but he also says he doesn't know what his condition is. he doesn't know if he is alive or if he is dead.
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because there is some concern because he had devices strapped to his body that were believed to be of an explosive nature and apparently one even somehow maybe sort of detonated or let off a puff of smoke as he was shot, as the gunman was shot, there is a concern about the safety of really going into where this suspect is and so, wolf, we don't know if the suspect is alive or dead and really what the next step is here. >> so what you're seeing right now, brianna, i take it, are a lot of law enforcement, fire personnel, emergency medical personnel. they're still on the scene right now but they will -- the bomb detonation units will go through this building to make sure none of those backpacks or whatever have any explosive devices. that's what's apparently happening right now? >> that is exactly what is happening right now. they're not sure that the building is safe is what they said and they are concerned about these devices. they were described at least what the suspect was wearing as
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metallic canisters that were attached to the front and back of his body and there are really spotty details about exactly what else might be in there but that is the obvious concern. it's not safe right now for authorities to go in. so what they did was fearing they said that the hostages' lives were in danger police shot this suspect after negotiations had been going on for sometime. they got those hostages out. one of the questions asked, one of the questions asked here was why did they feel that the hostages' lives were in danger wolf? we heard from police that they were going through negotiations with the suspect and he was experiencing a broad range of emotions. he was blafg very erratically and there was concern they weren't going to be able to certainly come to a peaceful conclusion here.
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this was at 4:48 so less than 20 minutes ago when police took this action and the gunman was shot. >> brianna, stand by. tom fuentes is joining us, a former assistant fbi director and cnn contributor. it looks like this is over with right now unless you have a different assumption, tom. >> it would appear so, wolf. of course it's going to take probably several hours to go through the entire building room by room, closet by closet, to not only make there are no other devices but also to make sure there aren't other office workers hiding somewhere not knowing what's going on, not knowing if it's safe to come out. >> at what point, tom, you've been involved in negotiations like this. at what point do local authorities or the fbi who may have been involved, at what point do they decide they have no choice but to shoot the gunman? >> they have these negotiations going on at this point for about two hours, 45 minutes and the
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negotiators that are in constant discussion with the individual, when they believe they just can't carry on a rational discussion that he is becoming increasingly agitated, unstable, his mental and emotional condition is such that he's liable to any second cause direct harm to the hostages, the commanders would take that decision that if they can remove him from the situation to do so. very similar to what we saw with the navy seals and the captain of the alabama mersk being held hostage by somali pirates. when they reached the point that they felt negotiations were not going to be successful, he is not going to give up peacefully, and possibly poses a direct threat from those hostages to be killed then the commander is going to make the decision to go ahead and end it. >> it looks like this incident is over with. we'll stay on top of it. of course, tom, thanks very much. just to recap for our viewers the suspect james lee, 43 years old, has been shot by local law
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enforcement. we don't know his condition right now. the three hostages he was holding have been released. they are fine according to the montgomery county police chief. that's right outside washington, d.c. in silver spring, maryland. all this occurring at the discovery channel headquarters in silver spring. we'll update you on this story as we get more information but, fortunately, it looks like the situation has been resolved right now. other important news we're following in the situation room the far reaching goal of peace between the israelis and the palestinians is now front and center for president obama. the president hosting israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu, the palestinian authority president mahmoud abbas, and other top middle eastern leaders for a series of high stakes, bilateral talks over at the white house today and only moments from now the president will go to the microphone, speak in the rose garden. we'll bring that to you. he'll speak about what he's
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learned today and what he hopes will be achieved as the israeli palestinian peace process gets off the ground. in the meantime let's bring our senior white house correspondent ed henry. we did hear from the president today. he showed up together with the israeli prime minister to make an important statement. >> certainly very interesting. when you talk to the president's top aides they say from the beginning of this administration in private at least this president has had a very hands on role with middle east peace. we haven't seen a lot of that in public. this is really the first time we've seen such a hands on role for this president. he had back-to-back, one-on-one oval office meetings first as you mentioned with prime minister netanyahu then with president abbas as well. significant that the backdrop for these talks of course is that horrific attack in hebron, the west bank, four israeli settlers killed could have the potential to derail these talks but instead president obama was very firm, a president who as we know has been accused of
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snubbing prime minister netanyahu in a previous visit to the white house, accused of not being enough of a friend to israel, very direct in saying he stands behind israel in the wake of this attack and vowed this would not derail the talks. it was very clear that the prime minister was thankful for that comment. >> the tragedy we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. but i want everybody to be very clear. the united states is going to be unwavering in its support of israel's security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities. >> i think that the president's statement is an expression of
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our desire to fight against this terror and the talks that we had which were indeed open, productive, serious in the quest for peace also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to israel's security. >> you can see that they think perhaps they're picking up some ground. interesting that after his meeting with president abbas in the oval office president obama told reporters, quote, we are making progress. he did not offer details. that's why it's going to be significant the next few moments when he comes into the rose garden with other u.s. officials to see if he'll give us more details about what's been going on behind closed doors. later tonight the president will be joined by the israeli and palestinian leaders but also king abdula of jordan who he's met with today as well as president mubarak of egypt. they're here as well on the sidelines trying to push this
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along. they're going to be making comments later tonight after the president's rose garden comments around 7:00 p.m. eastern and then all of these leaders will go behind closed doors for a very important private dinner. i'm told by some officials that at one point in the planning they were thinking about a really large dinner, all kinds of delegations about a hundred people. they've shrunk it down now, just this handful of leaders and translators. they want to try to get some business done behind closed doors. >> all right. we'll stay on top of this and await the president's arrival in the rose garden as well. ed, don't go too far away. this is certainly not the first time the united states has attempted to broker peace between the israelis and the palestinians. that issue was an important component of the 1978 camp david accords overseen by president jimmy carter which led to an israeli/egyptian peace treaty. in 1993 the plo leader yasser arafat and the israeli prime minister yitzak rabin shared this handshake with bill clinton following the oslo agreement. in the year 2000 president
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clinton brought the two sides together once again at camp david but could not reach a final agreement between arafat and the new israeli prime minister ehud barak. in 2003 the so-called road map to peace was drawn up by the u.s., russia, european union, and united nations though it was never successfully implemented. as we told you the president is scheduled to make a statement momentarily over in the rose garden on what is occurring, the history unfolding at the white house today. we'll bring that to you live here in the situation room. stand by for that. also, an army private right now at the center of an investigation into a massive intelligence leak. our own brian todd talks to his new civilian attorney who says the pentagon needs to watch what it says about his client. and a camera catches a bomb blast in pakistan. it's just one of three deadly explosives that ripped through a religious procession. we have details just coming in. stay with us. you're in "the situation room."
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is assured. that one word... is how. jack cafferty is here with the cafferty file. jack? jack cafferty. >> well, despite president obama's speech last night, wolf, the war in iraq is not over. in a somber address from the oval office, the president thanked the troops and formally ended america's combat role in iraq after seven years. mr. obama said the u.s. has paid a huge price and we have. the lives of more than 4400 of
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our troops, another 35,000 wounded, the cost to our treasury of $700 billion plus. but even after all of this, after seven years, our commitment isn't through. there are still 50,000 u.s. troops in iraq for support and training. they're set to be there through the end of next year. and, sadly, in that time more of them likely will die. in many ways, iraq is still a mess. the country racked with violence, political instability. they haven't been able to form a government five months after recent elections. they regularly suffer from things like water and electricity. meanwhile george w. bush's closest ally when it came to the war in iraq tony blair is out with his memoir containing emotional passages about the war. the former prime minister admits the u.s. and britain didn't anticipate what he called the nightmare that unfolded when saddam hussein was toppled from power or the role that iran and al qaeda would eventually play.
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blair writes he has shed many tears over the loss of life and yet, quote, i cannot regret the decision to go to war. you can't. unquote. blair says he is devoting a large part of the life left to him to middle east peace. the thing about the war in iraq is it seems nearly impossible to put a finger on exactly what was accomplished, doesn't it? the population remains divided along tribal lines like it has been for centuries and likely will remain for centuries to come. of course, there's all that oil. here is the question. what exactly did the u.s. gain by going to war in iraq? go to cnn.com/cafferty file. post a comment on my blog. >> an excellent question, jack. i'll be fascinated to hear what our viewers think. thank you. the former u.s. army intelligence analyst accused of spilling top-secret information to wikileaks has a new lawyer. private bradley manning has hired david combs to head up his defense team. he's talking to our own brian
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todd. brian is here in the situation room. he is a civilian attorney, right? >> that's right. we spoke to david coombs just after he met with his client in a holding facility in quantico, virginia. he has the task of being the newly hired attorney for army private bradley manning the former intelligence analyst at the center of the wikileaks case. some are calling this the biggest leak since the pentagon papers on vietnam. an incident which leads the u.s. military to issue a statement of regret. an american helicopter gun ship accidently strikes civilians in iraq in 2007. two journalists are among those killed. the footage is posted years later on the wikileaks website. the man charged with leaking this video is now at the center of another investigation. a probe into one of the largest intelligence leaks in u.s. history. how did tens of thousands of classified documents on the afghanistan war make their way on to wikileaks this summer? army private bradley manning has not been formally charged in that case.
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wikileaks hasn't divulged its source. but military officials have told cnn, manning is the prime suspect. manning's attorney, david coombs, spoke to us right after meeting with his client at a facility in quantico, virginia. did he leak those documents? >> i have not talked to my client about that. i've not seen anything nor have i heard anything that would definitively tie him to that. >> reporter: the papers on afghanistan, which wikileaks calls the afghan war diaries, deal with matters from the hunt for osama bin laden to civilian deaths. pentagon brass has said this about wikileaks and its source. >> the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an afghan family. >> admiral mullen has said whoever committed these leaks could have blood on their hands. what's your reaction to it? what's your client's reaction? >> that's really why i'm here, brian, today, to address what i view as very highly charged rhetoric. when you take a look at this, the pentagon themselves has
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acknowledged with the afghan war diaries there is nothing new or illuminating. this type of rhetoric is really designed to affect manning's ability to get a fair trial. >> reporter: contacted by cnn a pentagon official disagreed with that characterization and said no one in the pentagon's senior leadership has publicly associated the wikileaks material with any member of the u.s. military. coombs also hinted about ways he may defend his client mentioning that manning's army unit knew of some erratic behavior on his part while he was deployed in iraq before the leaks occurred and before he was charged. you indicated they took the bolt from his weapon. what behavior did he exhibit? >> i've only seen very limited documentation of the mental concern by the unit but his immediate supervisor did document prolonged periods of disassociated behavior, quite a bit of nonresponsiveness from pfc manning and, again, that
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progressed from the deployment and deteriorated somewhat toward the end of his time there in may of 2010. >> coombs told me aside from removing the bolt on his weapon and sending him to a chaplain manning's army unit did virtually nothing to help him. a pentagon official i spoke to would not comment on that. >> i've seen these reports he is on suicide watch right now. >> he was according to david coombs who says that has now been lifted and he is seeing a forensic psychiatrist and coombs says he is being treated with medication for depression and sleeplessness which he says he is responding well to. the disposition of the case is moving very slowly. he is being seen by military specialists on mental health right now. then they're going to determine whether to charge him with court-martial. >> and the argument that the pentagon has made is that there were names of allies, of u.s. military personnel, afghani names for example mentioned in these documents were released and now their lives are in danger because he released these
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names supposedly, allegedly on the wikileaks documents. >> that is correct. coombs has acknowledged there are namesn those documents but said the names are spelled phonetically and wlofr wants to follow those people and try to find them couldn't do it based on you what see in the documents. that's his claim. >> may not work necessarily. >> may not. >> thanks very much. we're standing by for live remarks from the president of the united states. he is about to walk into the rose garden over at the white house. he'll talk about what has started in washington today, the middle east peace talks. we'll bring that to you as soon as we see the president walk out of the oval office into the rose garden. stand by. also the breaking news. hurricane earl has just been upgraded to a powerful category 4 storm. this is a monster and it's posing a growing threat to the eastern seaboard of the united states. we'll have the latest forecast coming up. [ animals calling ] ♪ [ pop ]
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and all the words stick because they're true. we speak the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in america. yes, we speak hybrid, and apparently quite well. fusion is now the 2010 motor trend car of the year. get in... and drive one. good afternoon, everybody. upon taking office, i declared that america is a friend of each nation and every person who seeks a future of peace and dignity and that the united states was ready to lead in pursuit of that future. at the beginning of my administration, i stated that it was our policy to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between israel and the
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palestinians as well as a comprehensive way to peace between israel and all of its arab neighbors. to support my outstanding secretary of state hillary clinton's leadership i appoint'd special envoy and one of our nation's finest statesmen, former senator george mitchell, to guide our efforts. as i've said many times our goal is a two state solution that ends the conflict and ensures the rights and security of both israelis and palestinians. despite the inevitable challenges we have never wavered in pursuit of this goal. i met with israeli prime minister netanyahu and palestinian authority leader mahmoud abbas on many occasions. between them, secretary clinton and senator mitchell have made countless trips to the region. over the past year both the israeli government and the palestinian authority have taken important steps to build
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confidence and with senator mitchell's support israelis and palestinians have engaged in several rounds of proximity talks even in the face of difficult circumstances. we've always made it clear that the only path to lasting peace between israelis and palestinians is direct talks between israelis and palestinians. tomorrow after nearly two years the parties will relaunch those direct talks. today i had a series of very productive meetings with key partners in this effort. i urged prime minister netanyahu and president abbas to recognize this as a moment of opportunity that must be seized. i thanked president mubarak of egypt and his majesty king abdula of jordan for their valuable leadership and for the support that will be necessary going forward. i look forward to hosting these four leaders at a private working dinner at the white house tonight.
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i also want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to many friends and allies especially our quartet partners and former british prime minister tony blair will be joining us as representing the quartet at the dinner this evening. the purpose of these talks is clear. these will be direct negotiations between israelis and palestinians. these negotiations are intended to resolve all final status issues. the goal is a settlement, negotiated between the parties that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable palestinian state. living side by side in peace and security with a jewish state of israel and its other neighbors. that's the vision we are pursuing. i know these talks have been greeted in some quarters with skepticism. we are under no illusions.
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passions run deep. each side has legitimate and enduring interests. years of mistrust will not disappear over night. building confidence will require pains taking diplomacy and trust by the parties. there is a reason the two state solution has eluded previous generations. this is extraordinarily complex and difficult. but we know that the status quo is unsustainable for israelis, for palestinians, for the region and for the world. it is in the national interests of all involved including the united states that this conflict be brought to a peaceful conclusion. so even as we are clear eyed about the challenges ahead, so, too, do we see the foundation for progress. the israeli government and palestinian authority are already cooperating on a daily
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basis to increase security and reduce violence and improve conditions on the ground. among the israeli and palestinian publics there is wide support for a two-state solution. the broad outlines of which are well known to both peoples. even in the midst of discord, ordinary israelis and palestinians, faith leaders, civil society groups, doctors, scientists, businessmen, students, find ways to work together every day. their heroic efforts at the grass roots show that cooperation and progress is possible and should inspire us all. in addition, prime minister netanyahu and president abbas are two leaders who i believe want peace. both sides indicated these negotiations can be completed within one year. and as i told each of them today, this moment of opportunity may not soon come again. they cannot afford to let it
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slip away. now is the time for leaders of courage and vision to deliver the peace that their people deserve. the united states will put our full weight behind this effort. we will be an active and sustained participant. we will support those who make difficult choices in pursuit of peace. but let me be very clear. ultimately the united states cannot impose a solution and we cannot want it more than the parties themselves. there are enormous risks involved here for all the parties concerned but we cannot do it for them. we can create the environment and the atmosphere for negotiations. but ultimately, it's going to require the leadership on both the palestinian and the israeli sides as well as those in the region who say they want a palestinian state.
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a lot of times i hear from those who insist that this is a top priority and yet do very little to actually support efforts that could bring about palestinian state. so only israelis and palestinians can make the difficult choices and build the consensus at home for progress. only israelis and palestinians can prove to each other their readiness to end this conflict and make the compromises upon which lasting peace deserves. what the rest of us can do including the united states is to support those conversations, support those talks, support those efforts. not try to undermine them. so the hard work is only beginning. neither success nor failure is inevitable but this much we know. if we do not make the attempt, then failure is guaranteed. if both sides do not commit to
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these talks inner and esthen the long standing conflict will only continue to fester and consume another generation. this we simply cannot allow. we know there will be moments that test our resolve. we know extremists and enemies of peace will do everything in their power to destroy this effort. as we saw in the heinous attacks near hebron, which we have strongly condemned. we also know this. too much blood has been shed. too many lives have already been lost. too many hearts have already been broken. despite what the cynics say, history teaches us that there is a different path. it is the path of resolve and determination where compromise is possible and old conflicts at long last can end. it is the path traveled by those who brought peace to their countries from northern ireland where senator mitchell was so deeply involved to the balkans,
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to africa, asia, to those who forged peace between israel and egypt and israel and jordan. this path is open to israelis and palestinians if all sides persevere in good faith and with a sense of purpose and possibility we can build a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the middle east. thank you very much. >> the president of the united states with the secretary of state hillary clinton and the special middle east negotiator george mitchell the former u.s. senator in the rose garden the president insisting this moment of opportunity may not come again. he says the parties must seize this moment of opportunity right now and begin a one-year process of direct, face-to-face negotiations that will result he says with the goal ending the occupation that began in 1967 at
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a two-state solution, palestine along what he said would be the jewish state of israel. all of these words are powerful. they resonate deeply with the israelis and the palestinians. let's assess what we've just heard from the president of the united states, gloria borger our senior political analyst is here. so is john king. david gergen is joining us as well. david, you've been involved in this process when you served four u.s. presidents. this is a dramatic moment. tomorrow the secretary of state formally kicks off the direct face-to-face negotiations, something that hasn't occurred in almost two years. >> it is a dramatic moment, wolf. we have to be cautioned and tempered of course by the experiences of past presidents. so many have tried. no one has come up with the full answer. president carter deserves an awful lot of credit for what happened during his period of time and other presidents have contributed. but this is a moment where i seem to have gotten off to a smooth start today. the meeting with prime minister
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netanyahu apparently went well. i think one has to give credit to the president. but it is also a moment of some peril because if these talks fail, and there are many who believe they will fail, it could actually be a serious setback to the situation in the middle east. it could be destablizing. the president has a lot riding on the line. this president seems to go, doesn't he, from one major challenge to the next. they don't seem to stop. >> right. if yourself' talking about iraq and afghanistan, a crisis with iran as we note and of course the israeli/palestinian conflict, these issues, john king, are enormous. i thought it was significant that the president brought king abdula of jordan, the egyptian president hosni mubarak to washington as well to help give the palestinian president some cover. >> very significant. also significant that gentle shot he took at others in the region who he said always say they support a palestinian state but don't seem ready to do the hard work to make it happen.
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you could take that as hello saudi arabia, hello syria. you could take it as a hello to the others in the region who the president knows could undermine these negotiations through any number of actions. david mentioned jimmy carter. that was 32 years ago, wolf. 32 years ago the historic peace agreement between egypt and israel. since then every president has tried. we both covered bill clinton. he got as close as any president has ever come to getting the israelis and palestinians to put ink to paper to a peace deal and it collapsed in the end. in part, one of the important reasons, said the regional partners, in part, not the only reason but in the end when arafat started to waver a little bit the president then bill clinton could not get the egyptians and the jordanians and others to nudge him along because they complained they had not been involved at the beginning. they didn't know the details. so that was one of the reasons they had difficulties at the end. but none of the significant issues, the final status issues, jerusalem, right to return, the borders, none of those are resolved and you have two leaders in a very weak position at home going into these
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negotiations. most say that means it won't happen but others say sometimes when you're weak you cut a deal. >> gloria, it looks like president obama has patched up his relationship with the israeli prime minister netanyahu especially today when he came out following that meeting to make that strong statement condemning the murder of those four israelis on the west bank. >> i was talking to somebody in the administration about that today who said, yes, they have. but don't over state what the personal relationships have to do with this. if their goals, their political goals are the same and they both understand that the ultimate goal here really is to deal with iran. and in that sense, wolf, they're both on the same page. what the white house would like to do is to clear the decks here essentially and that's, you know, again, very, very difficult to do. can't understate it but of course israel wants to deal with iran's nuclear capability and so does the united states. so in that sense, they had very much a shared interest. >> we'll see how the talks actually proceed. tomorrow over at the state department, the secretary of
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state, hillary clinton will start this process. she will sit down together with the israelis and the palestinians, prime minister netanyahu and president abbas. she will start that meeting. we're then told she will leave and let the two leaders themselves, the israeli and the palestinian leaders begin these conversations which the president of the united states says should take about a year. we'll see if this works out or doesn't. all right. we'll continue to watch this story. there is other important news we're watching as well including a political unknown scoring a stunning victory in alaska after being packed by the tea party movement. there's no way to hide it. sir, have you been drinking tonight? if you ride drunk, you will get caught... and you will get arrested.
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let's get right to our strategy session. joining us right now the democratic strategist and our cnn political contributor. guys, take a look at these gallup poll numbers which are coming in and jamal it's getting from bad to worse for the democrats right now. if you take a look who in congress would do a better job handling the following issues on terrorism? the republican advantage is 24%. on immigration the republican
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advantage is 15%. federal spending 15%. the economy 11%. the democrats have a slight advantage on health care and a much bigger advantage on the environment but on the most important issues out there, right now, the democrats look, they're in so much trouble looking toward the november 2nd, mid term election. >> you're right. it is a very tough environment for democrats but the good news is that elections aren't held between generic democrats and generic republicans. the elections are held between an individual democrat with the record and an individual republican with a record. those of us in the democratic party have been asking republicans to offer their ideas and don't just be the party of no but asking them to offer ideas to the country. what have we heard so far? we've heard they want to fire obama officials, investigate obama policies with darrell issa. they want to privatize social security and now borrow more money from the chinese to give bush tax cuts to the rich. so, you know, democrats want to
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run this campaign based on issues and i think in individual races that's going to matter. >> mary, what do you say about this? >> i'm saying maybe jamal is hearing that but that's not what the voters are hearing. in poll after poll including ones where stan greenburg the democratic pollster and the republican pollster did one and the message was echoed in the 13 big senate races, last month, showing the same thing. the specific republican solutions that jamal is not hearing but voters are clearly hearing are beating in every case democratic positions. furthermore, the democratic pollsters are telling democratic candidates to specifically not run on their records, to not run on obama care. so that doesn't lead them to do anything except attack their opponents and that's not flying either. it's just going to be one of those seismic shifts this fall. >> hold on a second. our cnn political producer shannon travis is joining us on
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the phone right now. he's in anchorage, alaska, where there have been dramatic developments overnight, shannon. tell our viewers about joe miller. he is going to be the republican senatorial nominee. he beat the incumbent lisa murkowski in a close election. he of course had the strong backing of sarah palin, the former governor. >> that's right, wolf. it seems like the ground is just starting to settle after the shock wave that basically rolled through here last night. let's talk about today. right now joe miller's campaign, i got off the phone with him a while ago. they said that they are raring to go for the general election. they're gearing up, not taking anything for granted. despite the fact that the democratic challenger, the s sittka mayor is badly trailing in some of the initial polls but the miller campaign says they are not taking anything for granted. they will be out there seeking to firm up conservative support but also seeking independents
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and democrats. on the other hand i also spoke with the democratic party, the arm that helps elect democrats to the senate and they said this gives them an opening. having joe miller in this race gives them an opening to actually take this seat is what they think. >> we'll see what happens. but let's bring back jamal and mary. jamal, it certainly looks like joe miller, a graduate of west point, the yale law school, he's a pretty attractive candidate. he's a handsome young man as you could see. he seems to have quite a following for someone that most of us never heard of, including in alaska only a few weeks ago. >> well, i'll leave his physical attributes up to you, wolf. but i think he does look like a good candidate. you know, alaska is tough. a lot of people i know worked with tony knowles who should have been able to beat lisa murkowski before. i do think we have a chance here that we didn't have before. but it's a tough environment. there are some other states like, you know, kentucky, with
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rand paul or indiana with dan coates the former lobbyist but i think we probably have a stronger case and i'd like to see democrats focus on those places also. >> mary, you think that the democratic candidate in alaska has a shot against this young guy? >> let me just say i think jamal is every bit as handsome as our new candidate up there in alaska. look, all of these seats are these newcomers -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt you for a second because there is a news conference in silver spring, maryland updating us on this incident that we watched for much of the afternoon today. i want to go listen in briefly and hear what they're saying. >> this is cnn, breaking news. >> this is i believe the police chief. >> chief manger? >> i think most of you have the background on what occurred. we had a man come into discovery about 1:00 this afternoon. he came in with explosive devices strapped to his person. we believe that he also came in
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with two boxes and two backpacks that we suspect may have explosive devices in them. he pulled out a hand gun and may have been fired a round when he came in. we're in the process of trying to confirm that. told everyone to stop moving. several people ran out of the lobby area. in the end he had three hostages, a security other ind. all three male. the hostages were all male. over the course of the next several hours, we, our trained negotiators spoke with this man. he, at obviously had a number of issues with discovery.
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he's had a history with discovery of conflict with discovery which would actually one case resulted in his arrest a couple of years ago, right out in front of the building. as we were negotiating with him, our tactical officers were able to get into position where they were very close to him. they were watching him via camera, and they were close enough to hear what he was saying and see what he was doing on a camera. at one point, the suspect reported that he had pulled out the handgun that he came in with, and pointed it at one of the hostages. it is unconfirmed now whether he actually fired the weapon or
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not. but at this point, our tactical units moved in. they shot the suspect. the suspect is deceased. the hostages were all safely, were able to safely get out of the building. and at this point, we still have what we believe are four devices or two boxes or two backpacks that we have to determine whether they are explosive devices, and get them safely removed. so, the building is still a crime scene. we still have work to do, but as i said before, to our knowledge no one aside from the suspect has been injured and the hostages were able to get out safely. >> how long, chief did you --
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>> thanks, captain. >> let me say on behalf of discovery communications, thank you. thank you so much to law enforcement, and both montgomery county fire and rescue, and montgomery county police. sorry. >> can you spell your name for us. >> david levi from the discovery communications. on behalf of the company, thank you to montgomery law enforcement, and fire and rescue. it was incredibly professional rescue, and they were in constant communications with us, and they handled themselves with complete professionalism, and we are relieved that it ended without any harm to our employees. all of our employees are accounted for. and let me also say that it is the word of the day is professionalism. a big thank you to discovery's administration and resources and security staff. we executed our emergency evacuation plan flawlessly, and
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employees were notified and exited the building and everyone is accounted for and safe and sound and we are thankful for that. again, thank you very much. >> david, do you know -- [ inaudible ]. >> the security guard, was he armed? >> well, i will defer to the captain on any questions. >> he has been outside of the building on previous occurrences? >> yes, we were familiar with this gentleman, because he has been in front of the building before in discovery. we have a security team 24/7 and i can't go through everything today, but you will see that the discovery communications staff handled themselves brilliantly, and part of the success of today, a lot goes to montgomery law enforcement and fire and rescue and the fbi, but also the discovery communications security staff who handled themselves well. >> do you believe that the hostages were selected randomly? >> can you tell us more about
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what his grievances were against discovery, and can you tell us more about the hostages, were they male or female? >> two employees and one security officer. i will defer to the captain, because it is an ongoing investigation. you know, i don't want to characterize really the motivations of the perpetrator. if you follow what he said public online, i don't think it is rational. we certainly were cognizant and aware of him, but we do did no take his demands or threats seriously. >> and david, you said you had a lot of communication throughout the day, and you said that the evacuation procedure, was that put in place post 9/11 or because of this gentleman or why did you this evacuation plan? >> post 9/11 we spent a lot of time talking about continuity plans and emergency evacuation plans and we had those in place,
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and we do have annual drills to go over the procedures. we have a floor captain. they were notified right away. all of the employees were secured. then with the cooperation of law enforcement we evacuated the employees and the on site day care center, and again, that planning really paid off today. >> could either of you tell us about the demands he made or -- >> most of the demands he made during our negotiations with him mirrored what he has on his website. >> can you elaborate? >> do you have his name or date of birth? >> i don't have that information. >> when he was shot, chief, did the hostages exit from their own -- well, that is the police
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chief of montgomery county telling us that the suspect in the case, james lee, 43 years old was shot and killed by police officers as he was holding three hostages. he had two other individuals there as well. this incident is now clearly over, although, there out of an abundance of caution going through the backpacks and other material he brought into the discovery communications headquarters in silver spring, maryland. we will stay on top of the story, and if there is more informationk b information, but as of now, an incident that caused enormous concern for the united states, that incident is now over. over to jack cafferty right now for the cafferty file, jack? >> and it ended the way it is supposed to, the bad guy is dead and the hostages are free and safe. good for them. question this hour, what did the u.s. gain by going to war in iraq? bonnie writes, we gained obama as the president. very poor trade i'd say. gordon in new jersey, gain -- i can't think of a thing, not one,
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and even getting rid of a monster like saddam is a double-edged sword that has greatly benefited our enemies in iran. and the iraq war derailed the military and political initiative against the real 9/11 enemies a in afghanistan and pakistan and over 5,000 american soldiers an contractors and hundreds of british and ace trailian and other allies and quarter of a million iraqis all dead. if there is a hell i think that bush and cheney and the others who engineered this war of choice will one day get to meet saddam there. jim writes, i do believe that when we went to war with iraq, it sent a shivering message to the muslim world, and the message being, don't mess with us, because we didn't care where you are, or who you are, and keep it up and you will see us coming. charles from zx zac saisouth ca said, i don't see any benefit. maybe the iraqi people are freed
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from an evil dictator. time will tell whether they are able to accomplish enough agreement among themselves to govern. and james says the answer is the same as what did the united states gain from the vietnam war. as a country, nothing. ask dick cheney and halliburton what they gained. stacy says, we didn't gain a thing. in iraq, they will find another saddam to rule, and that is the way it has to be the three tribes in the country. all of those men and women died or were hurt for nothing. i am a big fan of obama's, but last night, he sounded as stupid as bush. if you want to read more on this, you will find it on my blog cnn.com cafferty file. and the consensus is we didn't accomplish a hell of a lot. >> not surprised, jack. here in "the situation room," happening now from north carolina to new england, people are urged to get ready for hurricane earl. a backup to a category 4 and
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that is a monster. the storm packs a powerful punch, but it will strike hard or just throw a scare into the east coast of the united states? we have the latest forecast, stand by. president obama brings middle east leaders to the white house for a high profile launch of direct peace talks. will the israelis and the palestinians take advantage of what the president calls a window of opportunity? and that hostage standoff at the head quarters of the discovery channel right outside of washington, d.c. ends in a shooting. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com storm moorings are up as hurricane earl grows and grows and eyes the east coast. evacuations have been ordered now for vacationers in north carolina's barrier islands and all of the way up to new england and people in coastal areas are urged to make preparation, but it is still not clear what kind
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of impact that category 4 storm will have. cnn's rob marciano is standing by in kill devil hills, north carolina, so we will go to our meteorologist chad myers at the cnn hurricane headquarters in atlanta. we got a forecast a moment ago, chad, and tell the viewers what we know. >> it has shifted to the west to, the left, and closer to north carolina. the storm literally refuses to make that big turn, the turn that is forecast for ten days by the computer models and should have been out in the middle of the atlantic ocean, but that never happened so that the track is off to the northwest. a slight shift to the north here which is great news. it needs to make that turn quickly in order to get out of the way of north carolina. notice, well into the cone now is north carolina at 115 miles an hour, in the overnight hours of thursday night into friday. so, tomorrow night into friday morning is when the closest approach to north carolina will
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be. at a very significant hurricane pace. and then, maybe a second potential landfall still in the cone, somewhere around the cape, and maybe cape cod area, and maybe the eastern sections of long island and still in the cone. notice how it has shifted back off to the left to, the west, at 105 miles per hour, and that is a significant impact. far enough away from new york city to make rain showers in the outer bands, but this is still a big storm, and upgraded to category 4 just about an hour ago, back up to 135 miles per hour, wolf. >> well, if you are at the beaches let's say from whether virginia or delaware or new jersey and all of the way up to the hamptons, how worried should you be right now? >> well, if you don't mind staying inside and away from the windows and reading a book, you are all right in most cases, but not the same case for north carolina. you need to get out of there for north carolina. but the problem will be these rip currents. all of this wave activity will be pounding the shore, all of
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the water wanting to pile up on the shore, itself, on the beach, and then those sand bars that are out in mid of the ocean, one will break. you don't know where it is going to break, but when it does, all of the water rushes out to the ocean. as the water rushes out, and if you are in the water, you be rushing out, too. that is where all of the res keys are going to be for the rest of the end of the week and maybe into the beginning of the weekend, because the waves will still be here. you need to stay out of the water all of the way from florida on up into massachusetts. >> well, we will stay in close touch with you, chad. thank you very much. whatever course earl does take, the coastal areas, as you heard, they are bracing for an impact from the powerful storm. our cnn meteorologist rob marciano is in kill devil hills, north carolina. i assume that folks are getting ready, rob? >> reporter: yes, you would assume that, but we haven't seen the flurry of activity that you would expect with a major hurricane bearing down on a
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susceptible coastline like here. we have not talked to many people who are entirely too worried. we haven't seen much activity at the stores and aside from the mandatory evacuations in parts now down in hatteras, and okono island, we haven't seen a mass exodus off of the outer banks of north carolina. the last time that these folks had any real storm roll through was in 2003 with isabel, and technically they will get a tropical storm ef there some shape or form every two years, so you would argue that there is a hurricane amnesia here and not many people that we have talked to seem to be that worried. it is another gorgeous day here and you look at the surf here, and the surfers are out there and yeah, the rip current issue, but generally speak, seeing some of the larger swells roll in and the surfers seem to be relatively happy. so when you talk about a storm of this size and magnitude, a category 4 storm now forecast to get this close to this sensitive shoreline and winds, hurricane-force winds, and i
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don't know if clad mentioned this, but the hurricane-force winds extend out to the center, and most of the storms are on the right-hand side of the storm, but nonetheless, if you get the storm 40 or 50 miles from the coastline which is what we think will happen, you will get hurricane-force winds here. if it jogs to the west, you will have major strength, and category 3 or 4 force winds here. that is the issue with the pounting seas and surf and beach erosion here, and the winds are the damage as well. and you may remember, wolf, in isabel, there were portions of the roadway here that were completely cut because of the storm surge on the sound and off of the ocean. so i think that the folks here are not quite as prepared either mentally or physically for this storm as i'd like for them to be. hopefully, that is going to make a turn, but as chad pointed out, it is very, very stubborn at this point, and we will all have to wait to see what happens. but looking off camera here, and
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there is somebody having a party right now, and not a care in the world. that is certainly worrisome, wolf. >> well, your colleague is with us, and i want to bring him back into the conversation, chad. it is still possible, this weather could move to the west and cause even more serious damage than we are concerned about right now? >> certainly. 40 miles to the left. 40 miles of this thing moving, and that is still 36 hours from where it is now to here and it only has to move literally that far from the left, that is a direct hit of a major hurricane on a barrier island and people will be in trouble. people there will be in trouble. those islands will be overwashed with water, because of the wave action. some of the waves under the hurricane right now, under the buoys, 30 feet. okay. so not 30 feet when they crash on the shore and maybe 15 or 20, but it is higher than the island in some spots that the wear the is going right over the top of the island and like rob said, not only just washing out the
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roadway, but washing out the island and literally making a new island from one where now there is a river that goes between where that one island is, and now two with a river in between. >> and just before labor day weekend, the end of summer here on the east coast of the united states, an awful, awful time to be worried about this. never a good time, but this is not a good time especially. all right. guys, we will stay in close touch with chad and rob. thank you very much. another important story we are following and important information coming in and president obama has brought middle eastern leaders to the white house for high-profile, and relaunch direct face-to-face israeli and palestinian peace talks. our white house correspondent ed henry is standing by. ed, they are ready for a dinner over at the white house and will be hearing from the leaders and i take it that you have advanced text of what the prime minister of israel benjamin netanyahu
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will say? >> yes, advanced information of what the prime minister will say before they head into the dinner. and similar to what the president said in the rose garden in issuing a challenge saying that he told both president netanyahu and president abbas, there is an opportunity here and they cannot let the window slip away. the prime minister is willing to take on the challenge, and ready to do a deal and compromise, and he takes on the skeptics head on in these remarks who believes he is a hardliner and not ready to compromise and he says i have made the case for israel all of my life, but did not come here to win an argument, but forge peace and addresses twice his palestinian counterpart directly saying at one point, there are many skeptics and many reasons for skepticism, but i have no doubt that peace is possible. president abbas, we cannot erase the past, but it is within our
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power to change the future. i was talking to one diplomatic source close to the talks telling me that quite bluntly, the quote was that netanyahu is not stupid and he knows a historic opportunity here and he is known to be a hardliner and not willing to compromise and now people are wondering if he is ready to deal. another senior person close to the talks says that netanyahu is looking for a deal and looking at the legacy, and this source says he knows he has a reputation for not willing to deal and he is able to come here to the table with direct talks to show he is serious. whether or not he follows through or whether or not the palestinians follows through, and other roadblocks remains to be seen, but in the remarks obtained the prime minister signaling that he is ready to compromise, wolf. >> ed henry is watching, and we will watch the dinner, because we expect the president and four leaders to speak at the start of the dinner, is that right? >> that is right. we are expecting all four
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leaders in addition to the president. the four leaders are the israeli prime minister, and the palestinian president, but then on the sidelines of the talks you have king abdullah of jordan who may speak as well, and he is going to be here as well as president mubarak of egypt. finally behind closed doors for dinner, another key player is added to the equation, the former british prime minister tony blair and now the quartet representative trying to push it along and president obama invited him as well. a lot of important players as well. i was told dozens of people to have at this dinner, and all delegations, but in tehe end, te president shrunk it down. tomorrow, the key leaders the palestinians and israelis will go behind closed doors with secretary hillary clinton to do the hard work of bridging the divide here. >> they want it resolved in one year. >> one year. >> thank you very much. jack cafferty is coming up next with the cafferty file. and then a new twist with the
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terror arrest following a flight from chicago to amsterdam, and the former suspects are free. how did the investigators get this case so wrong? also, the afghan ambassador to united states is suddenly removed from the post. he says he is a victim of a smear campaign, andly ask him why. he is here in "situation room." >> and major conditions are changed for the miners underground and we will show you how their lives are improving suddenly. when you approach things from a different perspective, you don't end up with just another car. you end up with the all-new saab 9-5 luxury sport sedan. why does it say box tops for education on your soup? oh, it's a program that raises money for schools. that's great, but this is a can.
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jack cafferty is here with the cafferty file. jack? >> the federal government is filing yet another lawsuit against arizona concerning the heated issue of illegal immigration. this time the justice department is going after a phoenix area community college system. the feds say that the school discriminated against almost 250 non-citizens by making them show extra immigration paperwork before they were hired. officials say that violates an anti-discrimination provision in a federal law. this latest lawsuit comes less than two months after the justice department sued arizona over its tough new immigration law. a federal judge has put on hold the most controversial parts of that law, including the requirement that police check the immigration status of anyone they stop if they think that person might be in the country illegally. in the meantime, the state department has decided to include arizona's new law in a human rights report to the
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united nations. the u.s. included the legal challenge to the arizona law as an example of the way that the federal government is protecting human rights. say what? arizona governor jan brewer is outraged and rightfully so. she is demanding that reference be dropped. governor brewer says it is downright offensive that a state law would be included in a report to the united nations about human rights. there is more. the justice department is also investigating sheriff joe arpaio in maricopa county, arizona, for possible civil rights abuses. he is known for being tough on immigration enforcement, unlike our federal government. here is the question, how many lawsuits should the federal government file against arizona over immigration issues? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. >> you know, it is angering, jack, so many of the folks is that you know who are some of the members of that united
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nations human rights commission that the u.s. submitted this report to? >> of course. of course. and governor brewer is absolutely right to be furious about it. how dare the state department include an example of a law in arizona in the lawsuits by the justice department as some sort of a example to the rest of the world about how we are upholding our stand against human rights abuses. it is offensive. >> yeah, at lot of people are really upset about this, and this story is not going to go away. thank you, jack. meanwhile, two yemeni men en route to amsterdam have been freed. they were held in the netherlands as possible terror suspects after concerns were raised in the united states about items found in the luggage, but the dutch authorities echo the american officials in saying that there is no evidence of wrongdoing. let's bring in the national security contributor fran townsend who is external board adviser to the cia and the
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homeland security department. what happened here, fran? >> well, it is interesting, wolf. interestingly enough that all of the federal officials did what we would have expected them the do. a guy shows up at the airport in birmingham dressed in layers of clothing on a hot day, and they bring him to secondary, and check the luggage and find the suspicious items and satisfy themselves no contraband and they let the guy go on to chicago. turns onut t s out in the inves they were not traveling together. lots of suspicious items in one suitcase and checked on a flight that the guy was not traveling on. but in terms of the investigation the federal government is satisfied that they did what they were to have done, and the dutch followed up on the request and satisfied themselves. one thing that is interesting is that they were not done according to the rules of the game is that the luggage that went on in chicago went on without a passenger all of the way to washington. >> washington dulles, because
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they missed the connection from dubai to yemen. >> that is a problem. that is not a federal government problem, but an airline problem. united airlines is going to have to explain certainly to the department of homeland security how that bag -- >> they maintained that on domestic flights chicago to washington they don't necessarily have to match up every piece of checked luggage with the passengers on board. that is only required on international flights. >> i suspect, and wolf, i was out at the department of homeland security talking to senior officials about this case, and while they were satisfied about their own performance they have grave concerns about this, and i am sure that the secretary, the head of the tsa will talk about how strengthening that system to make sure that luggage is not moving without passengers. >> they also say that the suspicious material found in the luggage, the cell phone and the box cutters and knives were gifts supposedly taking home to relatives in yemen. >> well, one thing, wolf, both of the guys are now of matters
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of interest to the federal government and the intelligence community and they will certainly get watched from here on out. >> we will see what happens. thank you very much. a diplomatic uproar, and pakistani officials leave the united states in protest over what happened to them in washington dulles airport. we are learning new details. you will learn them as well. and is the afghan president's behavior becoming erratic? we are talking about hamid karzai. the ambassador of the united states to pakistan has been fired. [ rattling ] [ gasps ] [ rattling ] [ laughing ] [ announcer ] close enough just isn't good enough. - if your car is in an accident, - [ laughing continues ] make sure it's repaired with the right replacement parts. travelers. take the scary out of life.
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fredricka whitfield is monitoring the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. hi, fred. what is going on? >> hello the you, wolf, and everyone. the auto industry is reporting a heavy hit in august sales. general motors and ford and toyota are all reporting disappointing figures. toyota sales plunged by 34%, and gm by 25% and ford 11% from a year ago. forecasters predict this is the worst august since 1983 for car sales industry-wise. and vice president joe biden and defense secretary gates presided over the official ceremony today
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marking the end of the u.s. combat mission in iraq. >> in the pre-dawn hours of march 20th, 1993, columns of coalition forces set off across the desert and the marshlands from kuwait en route to baghdad. last week after 7 1/2 years that tested our mettle like no other conflict in recent american history, the last of our combat units followed that same dusty highway out of iraq on their way home. >> announcing the start of operation "new dawn" biden made it clear while the combat mission is over, the u.s. support will continue, and he urged the iraqi leaders to form a government which has not happened since elections six months ago. and while work continues to permanently seal the well in the gulf of mexico that spilled millions of gallons of oil, cuba is planning its own offshore
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drilling. american experts met with the cuban officials who said that the country is planning to drill seven exploratory wells in the area of the gulf. they produce oil from onshore wells and imports the rest that it needs currently. thank you, fred. president obama is restarting israeli-palestinian peace talks and it is a high-profile hand's on effort to put the israelis and the palestinians toward a peace deal. and afghanistan's long-time ambassador to the united states is ordered to vacate the post. he is here in "the situation room," and we will talk about, that and talk about hamid karzai, the president of afghanistan, and clean clothes, solid food, and even music. but conditions are starting to improve at least a little bit for the miners trapped half a mile underground.
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all add up to one thing: treating you like a human being. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. to learn more, visit us at healthinnumbers.com. earlier today, there was a tense standoff that went on for several hours over at the discovery channel headquarters in silver springs, maryland, right outside of washington, d.c., and it has ended in bloodshed with the police fatally shooting the suspect. all of the hostages are freed and fine. we go to cnn's brianna keilar in silver spring watching this story. update the viewers, because a lot of interest earlier in the day, and what exactly happened? >> well, wolf, the latest that we know, the police told us that
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they shot this suspect, james lee, who -- and he is now dead. they shot him when it became apparent to them that the hostages were in danger. they had been monitoring him on the discovery channel's security cameras, and they actually had a police officer, ait appears inside of the lobby area of the first-floor area, so when it was apparent that the hostages were in danger, they took this action. listen to what the police of chief for montgomery county said a short time ago. >> the suspect is reported that he pulled out the handgun that he came in with, and pointed it one of the hostages. it is unconfirmed now whether he actually fired the weapon or not. but at that point, our tactical unit moved in. they shot the suspect.
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suspect is deceased. >> reporter: now, at that point in time, police negotiators had been on the phone with james lee for almost four hours, they said. they had been in negotiations with him, and that is when they took this action. they, what they could see actually we are told off camera by the police chief, looking at video footage inside, wolf, is that one of the hostages went to move, and that they saw lee draw his weapon and point it at the hose taj, hostage and that is when one of the police snipers shot and ultimately killed lee. at this point, the body is still in the discovery building behind me, because he came in with explosive devices strapped to his body, but also two boxes, and two backpacks, police told us, of what is potentially explosive devices. so they are going through the process right now of poring over
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the crime scene to determine if they are dangerous items and if they can go about clearing them? >> brianna keilar is working the story for us in silver springs, maryland. thank you, brianna. and now getting new amazing pictures coming in from nasa on the hurricane earl. chad meyers is over at the hurricane center working this story for us. and chad, explain what we are seeing? >> well, we have earl, and fiona and now gaston, and earlier today, this space station flew right over earl. it is amazing pictures, and wait until you see the eye in this. there it is right in the middle. it feels like they are going the fly us right in the middle of this. a large storm just filling up the entire frame of your picture here. hundreds of miles across. now, again, a category 4
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hurricane, and 135 miles per hour, and you get category 4 to get a category 3, and we are above those wind speeds. so there is no up and down when you are in space, but when you look at it, it looked like the world was up here and earl was in antarctica, but obviously, no north, south, east, west and looking from the international space center, and looks like underneath the world, but amazing shots as the international space station flew upside down on top of earl today. >> well, it looks like a busy few weeks with earl, and fiona and gaston, and wh kno knows wh will fill up the alphabet. there is new video coming in to "the situation room." those miners trapped underground n ar said to be improving
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somewhat. karl penhaul is joining us with more. what is the latest, karl? >> well, wolf, for the last ten days since those miners were discovered alive, rescue workers have been sending them down through narrow bore holes about that thick, everything from food, water, clean clothes, rubber boots, and beds, and the effort has paid off, because the miners are seeming like in great spirits. at some points they are crowding around the chilean flag that has been taken down, and they are shaking it shouting to the families and behaving as if they are a soccer crowd down there. and then one of the miners on the video takes us through the cabin where the miners have been confined to now for 27 days. he says that the conditions are improving, that the people are feeling much more comfortable now.
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you can also hear music playing, and that is because the rescue players have sent down mp3 players and speakers down into cabin, and then at one point after he jokes and says a couple of the guys are dancing and we are getting ready for this afternoon's party, you hear one of the miners shouting off camera, don't forget to tell them to send us the blow-up rubber doll. well, those kinds of comforts they are obviously not t at this stage, wolf. they have been denied a request for beer that they made very early on. the smokers down there however are getting nicotine patches to help them with the withdrawal symptoms. but more sincere side, one of the miners sent a note no rescuers saying that we realize that we are down here for the long haul, but we will be patient, and we will wait for you to come and get us. thank you all. >> it could be christmas before they come up to the top.
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we wish those miners only the best. diplomatic controversies embroiling washington right now, and one involving the sudden firing of the afghanistan ambassador. and he is here in "the situation room." a number of top afghani officials are going home in protest saying they were humiliated at washington's dulles airport. we are learning new details. stand by. when the curtain rises. and the spotlight is yours. having a strong signal at your back... is like having invisible power everywhere. because in that moment... you're not there to take up space. you're there to fill the room. rule the air. verizon. right now, buy a blackberry smartphone and get a second one free. like the bold. only at verizon.
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there's been a shake-up at the afghan embassy here in washington, d.c. where the afghan ambassador suddenly has been ordered to vacate his post amid a controversy swirling back home. the ambassador is here in "the situation room" to talk about what is going on. mr. ambassador, thank you very much for coming in. i assume that you are still the ambassador right now, but they have told you sit over, and why? >> well, at first, i probably served as ambassador for the past seven years where we established the embassy from the ground-up, and i am thankful for the support of friends to make it happen. seven years is is long time to serve as ambassador, and my term is ending by september 22nd.
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usually the term of the ambassador are three to five years, so it is fairly normal for the ambassadors to end their term at some point. >> but there has been some controversy, because this is a si sudden shock to a lot of people and many u.s. officials were saying it is shocked as well, and they say it raises questions about president hamid karzai and what is going on over there? >> i was not given an explanation of the reason of the end of my term, but basically, seven years is is a long time, and i did expect to leave this job at some point. >> dild thd they give you advan notice or tell you that the tour of duty is soefr? >> no, they told me that my tour of duty is over by september 22nd. >> let me read to you from the washington post story about leaving. karzai has made a series of
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hasty firings. last week, he dismissed a deputy attorney general who had been under investigation of government officials. and june karzai abruptly fired interior minister. and some say he is misbehaving bizarrely right now, and they surprised by what he is doing. >> well, i report to the ministry of foreign affairs, so that the authority that is in charge of appointment and removal of the ambassador is the ministry of foreign affairs, but as far as the dismissal of other very qualified officials in afghanistan, i cannot comment. they were in a different situation and different condition, but as i mentioned, i had the privilege of serving afghanistan and being the face of the new afghanistan and here establishing the embassy from the ground up and making it one of the most successful embassies of afghanistan abroad. >> and then they tell you to go home. here is another quote from the
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washington "post" and jawad has been the subject of what he has called a smear campaign in afghanistan over the past few weeks. several afghan web sites published photographs that purported to show people consuming alcohol, and women dancing in cleaveless dresses at an embassy party to celebrate the muslim holy month of rama n ramadan. you know that muslim women are not to drink alcohol and certainly not sleeveless. what are you saying about the smears leveled against you in af afghanistan? >> first, completely false allegations and doctored pictures portrayed as if there was an event at the embassy on the second day of the holy month of ramadan, and while i was in colombilom bby an bb bb bby --
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this was a smear. >> who is responsible? >> well, those who are left are subjected to a broad campaign smear both by the opportunistic government, and those fanatics outside of the government, and so they use this information and misinformation and propaganda in different ways. but then we have hundreds of thousands of support of what you have accomplished and done, so we have been here for a long time and people know what we stand for. >> will you go back the kabul right now to serve in the foreign ministry? >> i will serve afghan, certainly. i'm not a career diplomat and i have joined the government from the private sector to build a peaceful afghanistan. i will continue the work with that vision, but if it is outside of the government or inside of the government, i have not decided yet. i have never been a part of the government for ta long time, because my past is private
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sector. >> some say you will stay here in the united states? >> yes, i will stay here for transition, because my family lives here and my son is in school, and so for a short time, i will be here and then make the decision. >> mr. ambassador, we wish you the best and the people of afghanistan only the best. we hope there is peace and security and democracy in afghanistan one day. >> thank you very much. appreciate that. >> he is the outgoing american ambassador to afghan. people were taken off of a plane and detained and interrogated even though they were hosted by the united states military. another bizarre story. stand by. interesting grooming. thanks. i got the idea from general mills big g cereals. they put a white check on the top of every box to let people know that their cereals
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a group of high-ranbing pakistani officers returned home in protest last night after they were taken off of a plane, detain and interrogated at dulles international airport outside of washington, d.c. brian todd has been looking into the bizarre story for us. what are you learning, brian? >> well, a pakistani official told me in his words humiliateh. they have returned to pakistan in regard to their treatment. this was a nine-member delegation led by brigadier generals and one admiral. according to the pakistani official i spoke with, they were on the way to a u.s. military conference at central command in tampa, which they were invited to. after several legs of the trip from pakistan, they landed at washington dulles airport and boarded a united airlines flight to tampa. the pakistani official says at
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that point, one of the de delegation said, i hope this is the last flight, and that made a passenger uncomfortable, and then they were con fronted by the flight crew, and escorted off of the plane, and then after some discussion, the airline tried to rebook them for a flight the next day. they said after consulting with the military commanders in pakistan, the delegation decided to go back in protest, and contacted by cnn, a united spokesman would not comment on the specific comments, but he said, we recognize the inconvenience this caused and we have apologized, wolf. >> were the pakistani officers invited to come to the united states by the military detained an interrogated? >> that is where this story is murky. one pakistani official is cited by the pakistani newspaper saying they were detain and
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treated like terrorists. another pakistani official that i spoke with said they were temporarily taken to some area aside from the gate where they had discussions and tried to rebook them. the tsa and the tsa, we contacted them said they never interacted with the delegation. the only agency left on the scene might have been the airport police, and we contacted the washington metropolitan authority and have not heard back from them on this. >> and there could be some diplomatic fallout as a result of this event? >> yes, they voiced their displeasure to u.s. officials, but they said we have to move on from this incident. there is no word whether the delegation will come back to the conference. >> well, probably the conference is almost over by now. did the u.s. government or the defense department react to this incident which is pretty embarrassing? >> we contacted a defense department official, and they said, yes, they were invited to the conference in tampa, and
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they apologized, but they didn't have anything to do with the particular incident, and the u.s. officials were aware of it and ongoing discussions with the pakistani officials. and big unveiling at apple headquarters. we will show you. and plus, conan o'brien, and what will he call the new show. , but this is a can. yes it is. you can't have a box top on a can. yes we can. but a can isn't a box. we know. i don't think you do. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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the change of command ceremony in baghdad today. the u.s. top general, general odierno, stepping down, on this, the first day of the new start, new dawn, as it's called, "operation new dawn." the start of the noncombat phase of the u.s. military operation in iraq. our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is embedded with the u.s. troops. has some perspective from the troops who are now on the ground.
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now, it's official. american troops who once led missions now assist iraqi forces. what does september 1st mean to you? >> to me, it means we've done well and we've worked ours out of a job. which is what we came here to do in the first place. >> it means that i'm not going to have to come back. >> reporter: september 1st means more work for some american flight crews. especially those flying blackhawks. >> we're the only -- one of the only support aircraft here since we had chinooks that were here. they just recently left. it's picked up quite a bit. >> reporter: the first full day of new dawn is especially poignant for soldiers who slogged through years of fighting "operation iraqi freedom." >> i've been here four tours and the change is remarkable. >> reporter: this staff sergeant was part of the invasion of iraq in '03, then deployed twice during the most brutal fighting. >> it was really, really, really crazy for a couple years there.
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now, i look back on that, and it's a breath-taking difference. >> it is a significant thing for a soldier to see iraqis that he might have trained two years ago and they weren't that -- didn't have that much initiative. now, to come back and see them and they're doing operations on their own and we're following them. he's getting payback for that time he's already spent here. >> reporter: more than 4,400 american troops died fighting "operation iraqi freedom." another 4,400 were wounded. when you look back at your experience in '06, '07, was it worth it? >> absolutely. a lot of individuals made the ultimate sacrifice. soldiers' faces and people i've worked with. and if their sacrifice can be worth where we're going, i think we're doing the right thing. >> reporter: ironically, some american troops are more optimistic about iraq's future than many iraqi people themselves. but the soldiers did tell me a lot of that good will they're
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feeling right now will completely disappear if iraq slides back into chaos again. chris lawrence, cnn, baghdad. fredricka whitfield is monitoring some of other top stories in "the situation room" right now. >> hello, everyone. three explosions rocked a religious procession in pakistan today killing at least 28 and wounding more than 200. watch the left side of this video and you can see one of the explosions go off right there in the crowd. authorities suspect a suicide bomber is responsible for at least one blast. a senior government official blames the attacks on a security lapse. apple introduced a revamped line for many products today. the apple tv device dropped dramatically if price and is now just $99. it's also smaller as apple has ditched the video purchase model. focusing instead on people renting video. there's also a new i-pod line. the i-tunes social network. and updates to the iphone,
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i-touch and i-pad, just about everything. and conan o'brien took to the internet to announce the long awaited name of his new show. drum roll. >> and -- bang! here it is. conan. simple, pure, like the man himself. >> oh, and so complicated. the comedian says he settles on the name after a lengthy process. conan is set to premiere on monday, november 8th. i know that took a lot of thinking. what should i call it? what's my name? >> good name. good luck to conan on tbs, thanks. a little-known candidate captures the republican senate nomination in alaska. we're talking about joe mill are. he goes one on one with our own john king. progress. progress is saving tax payers millions of dollars, with the help of visa digital currency.
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they go through every car and truck we make with a big fat red pencil. because they know a family's going to be inside. a teenager. a guy on the way to the job. the engineers of chevrolet. just another reason why we can offer a 5-year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. and another reason why a chevy's a chevy. a 5-year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. hi, ellen! hi, ellen! hi, ellen! hi, ellen! we're going on a field trip to china! wow. [ chuckles ] when i was a kid, we -- we would just go to the -- the farm. [ cow moos ] [ laughter ] no, seriously, where are you guys going? ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! [ female announcer ] the new classroom. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco. ♪ check the wife check the kids check your email messages ♪ check the news online ♪ ♪heck the money in the bank check the gas in the tank ♪
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♪ check the hottie walking by... ♪ ♪ ...wait that's a dude, no thanks ♪ ♪ check the new hairdo check the mic one two ♪ ♪ 'cause i'm about to drop some knowledge right on top of you ♪ ♪ you check a lot of things already why not add one more ♪ ♪ that can help your situation for sure ♪ ♪ check your credit score ♪ free-credit-score-dot-com free-credit-score ♪ ♪ you won't regret it at all vo: offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage. let's get back to jack for the cafferty file. >> the question this hour, how many lawsuits should the federal government file against arizona over immigration issues? jan in north carolina, i don't think obama cares what we think anymore. i wonder what will be the next state to be subjected to his wrath over something he doesn't agree with. the democrats are going to have to pass a new tax so that we, the people, can pay for all the lawsuits against we the people. charles, new jersey, how about
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none? the democrats are stupid to pursue this near election time. andy in washington, by all means, spend time and taxpayers money on lawsuits as opposed to spending time and taxpayers money trying to put a stop to illegal immigration, which rumor has it is already against the law. denny writes, however many it takes for arizona to realize the error of its ways. jim in michigan writes, we have the most liberal immigration policy in the world. we let in more legal immigrants per year than any other country on the planet. i'm shocked this administration would fail to enforce our own laws and then go out of their way to sue a state that steps up to do it for them. and faye in gilbert, arizona, writes, none, the feds need to get off their butts and do their job. then jan brewer won't have to try to protect us from god knows who may be coming across the border. you want to read more on this, you can go to my blog,